Inventions

A Brief History of Vintage Matchmaking

We are an obsessed culture, and there are few things we tend to fixate on more than finding love. Over 41 million people in the United States have attempted to find a partner through online dating — a billion-dollar industry that banks on our desire for a connection. But services like OkCupid, Tinder, and Match.com weren’t the first computer-based dating platforms — or the first matchmakers. We spotted eight vintage matchmaking devices and services that demonstrate how dating was done before the age of the Internet. … Read More

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10 Inventions from Movies That We Wish Were Real

In the celluloid world, anything is possible, which is why it’s a haven for visionaries and inventors of all types. The laws of nature suspended, mad scientists can reign free, achieving success without the burden of proof, research, or failure. With these freedoms, they’ve actualized genius ideas, some of which our off-screen world could stand to adopt, whether to help us out when we’re too weak not to yield to the snooze button or to make the snooze button last another five years.

Of course, misuse of these powerful machines can lead to terrible things — and in many films have. But the luxuries they afford, both the culturally transformative ones and the ones that  just shave a little stress off an average day, are too major to ignore. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the the fictive weapons, trinkets, and tools we’re dying to test drive, below the jump — and even predicted if and when they’re likely to become a reality. Which would you most want to get your hands on? … Read More

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See Alexander Graham Bell’s First Sketch of the Telephone

In honor of the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s first successful telephone call, The Atlantic has an awesome slideshow of some of the best images from his lab notebooks, which have been loving preserved by the Library of Congress. While it’s almost impossible to make out his handwriting, his illustrations of scientific principles… Read More

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10 Wacky and Wonderful Patents

Facebook just bought $40 million worth of patents from Friendster. Team Zuckerberg purchased 18 innovations in total, including friend lists, photo tagging, and the always informative news feed. But not all of the patents are as clear. One of them apparently covers “a system, method, and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks.” Giving this privilege to one company doesn’t sound conducive to competition and innovation within the social-networking market — but that’s probably the reason why Facebook wanted it. We thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to ten other patents granted over the years that are weird, strange, and downright nutty. … Read More

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Pic of the Day: Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain

Nikola Tesla was a notoriously obsessive scientist who pioneered the advent of Alternating Current (Edison gets all the props with his DC current, but all the electricity you see is AC), as well as wireless electricity, the remote control, basic radar, the generator (basically a motor), cellular technology, the remote control, X-Rays, neon lighting, tesla coil (transformer) and a myriad of others.

Despite his awe-inspiring additions to science and invention, some still only know Tesla as that David Bowie character. The debate between Tesla and Thomas Edison (considered our greatest inventor) rages on even today. Tesla, despite his peculiar behavior, was also a good friend of author Mark Twain. After the jump, some great pictures of Twain with Tesla from a 1895 article entitled Tesla’s Osillator and Other… Read More

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